The North Carolina General Assembly will convene Tuesday, October 2, 2018 to begin considering disaster relief legislation in support of victims of Hurricane Florence.
Lawmakers supported calling the extra session next week to address pressing needs for education communities, provide policy flexibility to storm victims, and prepare for a fourth disaster recovery act since 2016 as well as federal relief funding from the U.S. Congress.
State House Speaker Tim Moore said the upcoming session was important to begin work on key reforms and emergency funding packages that state legislators have experience addressing after Hurricane Matthew hit the state in 2016. “The disaster recovery process is familiar to North Carolina lawmakers from both a budgeting and policy standpoint,” Moore said, “and we are ready to get to work passing key reforms and preparing funding to accelerate the storm recovery and help victims through this difficult time.”
North Carolina has saved a record $2 billion emergency reserve fund for natural and economic disasters. The state legislature appropriated over $360 million for Hurricane Matthew recovery the last two years.
Education leaders in the North Carolina legislature held a press conference with state Superintendent Mark Johnson on Monday to detail proposals that would alleviate concerns among education communities about attendance makeup requirements and income instability for teachers due to missed class time after the storm.
State House and Senate leaders “are working together, both houses and both parties, on a comprehensive disaster relief bill to get the immediate needs addressed,” said House Education Committee co-chair Representative Craig Horn (R-Union).
North Carolina lawmakers continue to work closely with their state’s federal delegation to prepare for a Congressional relief package and clear potential legal and fiscal obstacles to appropriating impending aid.
On Sunday, U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Richard Burr (R-NC) applauded the U.S. House for granting their request for a $1.68 billion “down payment” on Hurricane Florence disaster relief in the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill. The relief includes $1.14 billion for North Carolina and $540 million for South Carolina.
Legislative leaders have expressed support for additional reforms that provide flexibility for storm victims including delaying upcoming small business tax deadlines and adjusting vehicle title replacement policies through the DMV.